The unfailingly mopey lyrics on the self-titled 2011 debut from London four-piece Veronica Falls
marked them out as devoted Morrissey disciples (“Misery has taken over me / Misery, my old friend”), but on their terrific second album, Waiting for Something to Happen
(Slumberland), they ease off on the gothic tone. There’s still a fair amount of self-absorption, but now almost all the lyrics describe all-encompassing teenage crushes. In “Buried Alive
” front woman Roxanne Clifford sings, “I wanna get sick / I wanna catch everything you’ve ever caught,” and in “Teenage
” the lines “Driving late at night / I’ll let you listen to the music you like” feel as powerful as a marriage proposal. Embedded in the songs, the lyrics don’t sound as silly or saccharine as they can on the page, thanks to the sweet, breezy melodies and infectiously chiming guitars, which reach back to the heyday of C86
-era Britpop heroes such as the Shop Assistants and the Flatmates. Male-female vocal harmonies worthy of the Mamas & the Papas twirl together like licorice ropes, and Clifford strikes a persuasive balance of naivete and knowing—in “Everybody’s Changing” she paints herself as somewhat childish and clueless, but with each verse’s final lines she drops her pitch and firms up her delivery, proving she’s no pushover. Part of the appeal for me is undeniably late-80s nostalgia, but these songs would sound good no matter what era they evoked. —Peter Margasak Cold Showers and Love of Everything open.